Acting U.S defense secretary seeks to rally NATO to condemn Iran’s actions
On his trip to Brussels, Acting U.S Defense Secretary Mark Esper asked the NATO allies to publicly condemn Iran’s hostile actions and participate in an evolving plan to “better safeguard strategic waterways” around the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.
Tensions between Iran and the United States have escalated to new levels after an American drone was shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The United States is trying to create an international coalition to put more pressure on Iran.
Mike Esper who recently replaced Patrick Shanahan as the acting defense secretary, asked the European allies of the United States to help in moving Iran away from military conflict and toward diplomacy.
Esper emphasized that the United States does not want a war with Iran, “but we are ready to defend the interests of U.S troops in the region”.
On Monday, the White House added the leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei to the list of sanction. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also been added to the list. Iran says the United States has closed the door to negotiations with these new sanctions. However, President Trump says these sanctions are necessary to bring Iran to the negotiation table. He says he is ready to negotiate without any preconditions.
The leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei says negotiation offered by the United States is deception and he has compared it to poison.